The Warning Against Pride
Jeremiah 13:15-17
Hear you, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD has spoken.

Many of the inhabitants of the valleys that lie between the Alps in Switzerland have large swellings, called goitres, which hang down from the sides of their necks, like great bags. They are horrible things to look at. And yet, strange as it may seem, the Swiss get to be proud even of these dreadful deformities. They look down with contempt on their neighbours who do not have these terrible swellings, and call them the "goose-necked" people. And so we see that pride is a sin into which we are all in danger of falling. And here we have God's warning against pride.

I. PRIDE BRINGS WITH IT UNHAPPINESS. The fable says, that there was a tortoise once, that was very unhappy because he could not fly. He used to look up and see the eagles and other birds spreading out their wings and floating through the air. He said to himself, "Oh, if I only had wings, as those birds have, so that I could rise up into the air, and sail about there as they do, how happy I should be!" One day, he called to an eagle, and offered him a great reward if he would only teach him how to fly. The eagle said — "Well, I'll try what I can do. You get on my back, and I'll carry you up into the air, and we'll see what can be done." So the tortoise got on the back of the eagle. Then the eagle spread out his wings and began to soar aloft. He went up, and up, and up, till he had reached a great height. Then he said to the tortoise: "Now, get ready. I'm going to throw you off, and you must try your hand at flying." So the eagle threw him off; and he went down, down, down, till at last he fell upon a hard rock and was dashed to pieces. Now here you see, it was the pride of the tortoise which made him so unhappy, because he couldn't fly. And it was trying to gratify his pride which cost him his life.

II. PRIDE BRINGS WITH IT TROUBLE. We never can set ourselves against any of God's laws without getting into trouble. Two masons were engaged in building a brick wall in front of a high house. One of them was older and more experienced than his companion. The younger one, whose name was Ben, placed a brick in the wall which was thicker at one end than at the other. His companion noticed it, and said — "Ben, if I were you I wouldn't leave that brick there. It's not straight, and will be likely to injure the wall by making it untrue." "Pooh!" said Ben, "what difference will such a trifle as that make? You are too particular." "My mother used to teach me," said his friend, "that truth is truth; and that ever so little an untruth is a lie, and that a lie is no trifle." Now Ben's pride was offended by what his friend had said to him. So he straightened himself up, and said in an angry tone — "Well, I guess I understand my business as well as you do. I am sure that brick won't do any harm." His friend said nothing more to him. They both went quietly on with their work, laying one brick after another, and carrying the wall up higher, till the close of the day. Next morning they went back to go on with their work again. But when they got there they found the wall all in ruins. The explanation of it was this: that uneven brick had given it a little slant. As the wall got up higher, the slant increased, till at last, in the middle of the night, it tumbled over and fell down to the ground. And here we see the trouble which this young man brought on himself by his pride. If he had only learned to mind this Bible warning against it, that wall would not have fallen down, and he would have been saved the trouble of building it up again.

III. PRIDE BRINGS WITH IT LOSS. The apostle tells us that "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." So if we give way to pride, we are in a position in which God is resisting us, and then it is certain, that we can expect nothing but loss in everything that we do. When we begin to love and serve God, He says to each of us, "from this day will I bless thee." And are told that "the blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow." The way in which God's blessing makes His people rich is in the peace, joy, happiness He gives them; the sense of His favour and protection which they have in this world, and the hope of sharing His presence and glory forever in heaven. But if we give way to pride we cannot love and serve God; and then we must lose His blessing — the greatest loss we can ever meet with in this world.

(R. Newton, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken.

WEB: Hear, and give ear; don't be proud; for Yahweh has spoken.

Top of Page
Top of Page